Author: Helen

No More Electric Cars from Toyota

July 28, 2014

Financial Topics

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Asif Imtiaz worked as a prop trader for almost a decade, and later he managed trading operations for one of the largest foreign exchange strategy developers in Europe. Currently, he works as a trading consultant to several brokers and write on various tech and financial topics as a freelancer.

Lamar Construction files chapter 7 bankruptcy

July 28, 2014

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

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HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) — Lamar Construction Company is shutting down and has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to documents obtained by WZZM 13.

The Hudsonville-based employer is laying off 281 employees, including 180 in Michigan. The closure comes two days after the company shuttered its construction division but claimed its structural steel division would remain open.

The closure affects employees in Michigan, Colorado, and Kentucky.

RELATED: Lamar Construction closes; 180 employees affected

Bankruptcy documents dated July 7 show the company had between $10-million and $50-million in estimated assets and between $10-million and $50-million in estimated liabilities. The company also had 200-999 estimated creditors. The documents were signed July 7 by shareholders and directors Carl Blauwkamp and George Holmes.

We will continue to follow this story and have updates online and tonight at WZZM 13 News at 6 pm

Seasonal Search Trends by Industry

July 28, 2014

Financial Topics

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The volume of US Google searches about financial topics spikes in the beginning of the year; travel searches are most popular during the summer months; and retail searches start building for the holiday season in September; according to a recent report by WhosOn.

The analysis examined five years of US Google Trends data for four key industries—automotive, finance, retail, and travel—to determine how search volume and topics vary from season to season.

Below, key findings from the report.

Search Volume

  • Automotive: Search volume about automotive keywords traditionally spikes and dips throughout the year, with the spring and summer months being especially volatile. Early May and July are when the highest search volumes occur, whereas the second-lowest is in early June.
  • Finance: Searches about financial topics traditionally occur at the highest volume in the beginning of the year—ahead of tax season—and then steadily decrease after February. The lowest volume of searches usually comes in November.
  • Retail: Not surprisingly, retail volume is highest in the fall, leading up to the winter holiday season. Traditionally, volume starts to rise steadily in September and reaches its peak from the end of October onward.
  • Travel: The number of searches about travel topics historically spikes in the summer—with volume steadily rising beginning in April, peaking in early June, and slowly declining until November.

Financial Choices for Mobile Technology

July 28, 2014

Financial Topics

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There is so much material available to Internet users that it seems literally endless, but there is still some reluctance to use the Internet for financial purposes.

In Spectrems Millionaire Corner study Using Social Media and Mobile Technology in Financial Decisions, investors from three different wealth segments were asked to list the financial services and information they would like to be able to access via computer, smartphone or tablet. What the study showed is that there is still some information investors prefer getting from their financial providers or advisors.

Given a choice of 12 topics they could see on the Internet, nine of the topics were of interest to less than 50 percent of investors in all of the wealth segments.

The investors were segmented by wealth level: Mass Affluent (with a net worth between $100,000 and $ 1 million Not Including Primary Residence), Millionaire (with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million NIPR), and Ultra High Net Worth (with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million NIPR).

Interest was highest among the UHNW investors, and 75 percent said they would be interested in a website that offered them access to personal account information. Seventy-four percent of Millionaires and 69 percent of Mass Affluent agreed that such a website would be useful.

Sixty percent of UHNW investors said they would access a website that allowed them to look at balances in one place from multiple providers, which is key to wealthier investors who often work with more than one provider or advisor. Sixty-three percent of Millionaires and 57 percent of Mass Affluent investors said they would use such a site.

While many investors let their hired professionals research products and services, 57 percent of UHNW investors said they would use a website that had articles or research on financial topics and products. Fifty-two percent of Millionaires and 43 percent of Mass Affluent investors agreed.

Interest in website advice from financial experts is below 50 percent, with 43 percent of UHNW investors, 39 percent of Millionaires and 30 percent of Mass Affluent investors looking for that kind of service. Of approximately the same interest is a stock market ticker tape online, with 40 percent of UHNW, 37 percent of Millionaires and 29 percent of Mass Affluent investors expressing interest. offers ratings profiles of financial advisors, but only about a quarter of investors are interested in that service. There is similar interest in webinars, podcasts and videos with experts on financial issues and topics.

The NFEC Develops Framework for Teaching Personal Financial – Financial …

July 28, 2014

Financial Topics

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The NFEC has launched the Framework for Teaching Personal Finance to provide clear benchmarks to measure the performance of financial education instructors.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) July 16, 2014

The National Financial Educators Council brought together a think tank of educators, financial professionals and personal finance experts to develop benchmarks for financial education instructors – Framework for Teaching Personal Finance. The Framework and report is made available complimentary by the NFEC.

While the education industry has established criteria that qualify teachers, until now the financial literacy industry lacked clear guidelines for financial educators. Financial education is typically taught by financial professionals, traditional educators and volunteers – each had unique problems. Traditional educators report lacking the confidence to teach financial literacy. Financial professionals often understand financial topics yet lack training on general teaching and presentation methods. And volunteers often lacked teaching skill sets and knowledge on personal financial matters.

The Framework for Teaching Personal Finance includes performance standards that provide professional development guidelines. This Framework was designed to assist organizations to set clear evaluation criteria, establish benchmarks for hiring educators and provide the public assurance that financial education instructors are held to the highest standards of practice.

To develop the Framework for Teaching Personal Finance, the NFEC selected to work with Charlotte Danielsons Framework for Teaching. The Framework for Teaching is the most widely-used teaching model in the United States, and has been adopted in over twenty states. With the support of their consultants the NFEC modified the Framework to meet the specific needs of Financial Education Instructors.

Studies demonstrate that a Framework for those teaching financial literacy topics is needed. Students of highly-qualified educators accomplish more positive outcomes than those taught by less-qualified instructors. The Dallas Public Schools’ Accountability System found that, the more effective the instructor, the greater the student gains. Studies conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee demonstrate that teacher effectiveness has a cumulative, financially measurable effect on student achievement; those effects are long-lasting and sustainable. Researchers also found that teachers are the single most important variable contributing to student success, regardless of student age.

“Teachers are the single most important variable contributing to student success. The qualifications of financial educators directly influences both short-term student outcomes and long-term impact on their financial well-being,” states Vince Shorb, NFEC CEO.

Financial education is a unique subject that requires specialized expertise to teach effectively. Unlike other core subject matter typically taught in schools, the topic of money elicits emotional reactions in people. Each participant going through financial literacy curriculum brings his or her own experience, emotions, and relationship with money into the classroom. The Framework for Teaching Personal Finances outlines benchmarks for financial educators so they understand and respect these emotional reactions to succeed in improving the financial capabilities of the participants.

The National Financial Educators Council developed the Framework for Teaching Personal Finances to illuminate best practices to share with others in the financial literacy industry. The NFEC is a research and resource provider with the end objective of helping individuals improve their financial capabilities.

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

Woburn’s Sea Dog Brew Pub files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

July 27, 2014

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

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The Sea Dog Brew Pub in Woburn may have poured its last pint.

The business filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy today, a step that usually involves liquidation, and customers were starting to complain on the restaurant’s Facebook page because they were showing up at the restaurant only to find the doors closed.

Nobody was answering my calls to the restaurant today, and there was no voice mail to take my message. I also didn’t hear back from Theodore Connolly, the lawyer who is representing Sea Dog Woburn LLC in US Bankruptcy Court in Boston.

The Sea Dog restaurant concept, built around the Sea Dog line of beers, had been limited to its home state of Maine until recently. A group of restaurateurs opened up a seasonal Sea Dog restaurant in Hull in 2010, through a licensing agreement with Sea Dog owner Shipyard Brewing. Licensing agreements for year-round Sea Dog restaurants in Woburn and Northborough followed.

But the expansion of the Sea Dog pub brand in Massachusetts has not gone according to plan. The Sea Dog in Northborough closed in late 2012, and now the one in Woburn appears to have closed as well.

The Hull operation, located at the Sunset Bay Marina, remains open for business but principal Peter Lucido tells me the Woburn restaurant has been operated under different ownership since November 2012.

A Sea Dog in Nantucket has been rebranded as Nixs Brewpub and a Sea Dog that was supposed to open in Plymouth became a Nixs last year as well. The Nixs concept is run by Bostonian Hospitality Group, and the company’s four restaurants — there’s one in Boston’s Financial District and in Hartford — are named after Nix’s Mate, a small Boston Harbor island.

Meanwhile, the Sea Dog restaurant business has expanded outside of Maine under corporate ownership. Shipyard Brewing has opened two Sea Dog locations in Florida in Clearwater and Orlando, to augment the three Sea Dog pubs it owns in Maine, in Bangor, South Portland and Topsham.

Clsing the gender gap in financial education and planning

July 27, 2014

Financial Topics

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A recent study by Genworth Financial found that while many Americans believe that there is a correlation between financial literacy and retirement readiness, less than half actively seek out the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. Whats standing in their way?

The complexity of financial products, uncertainty about how to even get started, and an apparent lack of time.

The gender split on this issue was even more striking. Only 34 percent of women said they would be willing to try to deepen their understanding of financial matters because of the complexity of the products. By comparison, 61 percent of men said they were willing to put in some effort.

At the core of these statistics is a very basic emotion: Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of appearing ignorant. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of taking the wrong step and losing hard-earned savings.

My more than 25 years in financial management have taught me that it is the emotions that often stand in the way of an individuals path to financial security and wealth. If we as an industry are to help individuals overcome these emotions and redirect their energy toward a healthy financial future, then we need to rethink our approach to financial education.

Education is part of financial management. That is a point that often gets lost in the conversations about asset allocation, retirement savings programs, and estate plans. In order to help clients, it is the job of a financial advisor not only to learn about and advise her clients on their investments and goals, but also to learn about each clients hopes and dreams.

Usually these hopes and dreams are related to family. It is important for an advisor to know if a client has children and how the family communicates. This is particularly important as financial education should often be designed with all major household decision makers in mind. Are there elderly parents that need support, either financially or emotionally (because the latter can wreak havoc on the former)? What risks, ranging from death and disability to changing jobs, is the client concerned about?

RELATED:Live Phroogally and live well (Women in Business blog)

When I meet with a client, most of my discussions are not about investment topics. Im a mother of four, a business owner, and a former first grade teacher. I also take care of my elderly father, and I understand first-hand the challenge of juggling all of these responsibilities and identities. When I work with someone, I know that Im not just working with one person, Im working with the whole family. I need to understand their pressure points so that I can walk them through the steps to creating cushions to relieve that stress.

And what about the complexity of the products cited in the Genworth study? If we take the patient approach and are willing to explain, often repeatedly, how something works, and then give our clients time to digest and practice the skills, they will learn. More importantly, they will feel empowered about the decisions they make. It is that empowerment that allows our clients to shift from a path of financial insecurity and fear to one of wealth. I tell my clients that my ultimate goal is for them to not need me to manage their money, because if I am not here, they could be knowledgeable enough to manage their investments themselves. Having educated and knowledgeable clients makes for a better relationship all around.

Financial education is not a gender issue. The different learning styles and concerns of each client, whether man or woman, requires financial advisors to meet their clients where they currently are. This generally means getting rid of the financial jargon and simplifying the discussion. As an industry we need to raise the financial literacy of both men and women. If, however, we are to close the gender gap in financial education and overcome womens hesitation to participate, then we must create learning environments that encourage women clients to ask questions in a safe, non-judgmental surrounding.

I have often said that women clients can be the toughest to get, but the best to have. They want to understand, and they invest more time and energy in really digging deeply into every topic put in front of them. Once they trust you, you cannot have a stronger advocate. Women clients who are engaged are great ambassadors. Empower them and, on their own, they will close the financial literacy gap.

Written by Susan McGlory Michel

Michel is the founder and CEO of Glen Eagle Advisors LLC,an independent, full service investment firm with more than $350 million in client assets, headquartered in Princeton. Shesbeen advising clients for more than 25 years.

As a certified Woman Business Enterprise, Michel is passionate about helping other women succeed as financial advisors and in working with other woman business owners.She is an active volunteer and member of many professional and community organizations, including the Womens President Organization (WPO), Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWO), and more.

She is dedicated to improving educational opportunities for all students, with a particular emphasis on ensuring that financial topics are being incorporated into education curriculum and that young women are being encouraged. She was recently recognized with a 2014 Enterprising Women of the Year Award, a distinction that reflects her volunteer efforts and business success.


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Home News Durham hydro scam victims asked for personal…

July 27, 2014

Prepaid Credit Cards

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In recent cases of phone fraud across the region, citizens and businesses were not only pressed to pay phoney electricity bills, the suspects asked some for personal information as proof of their identity. Durham Police sent out a warning Friday, July 4 about the hydro scam.

It was almost like a ransom, them saying you have to pay now or your powers off, said Sergeant Bill Calder of the scam.

An investigation into the scam is ongoing, and no arrests have been made to date. Police have not been able to say how many people have fallen victim to the scam.

These kinds of scams are more common than people might want to believe, said Sgt. Calder.

Police say callers would identify themselves as electricity providers, then threaten to shut off power to homes and businesses unless bills totalling up to $1,000 were paid by credit card. If a person didnt have a credit card the callers would direct them to local convenience stores to purchase prepaid credit cards, while also encouraging downpayments of hundreds of dollars.

These kinds of scams are more common than people might want to believe, said Sgt. Calder.

Some fraudsters pretended to be with Veridian Connections, police said.

It does appear we had one customer fall prey to the scam, said Chris Mace of Veridian. Its hard to determine if there are more, unless they call our customer service centre.

While the scammers set up an answering machine and a toll-free number to appear a legitimate hydro company, Sgt. Calder advises the public to be wary and to go back to the source identified on their bills.

Always go back to your billing company, said Sgt. Calder. Get some clarity because odds are its going to be a fraud.

Some victims were asked for personal information, such as social insurance numbers.

Weve always said no one should give that information over the phone, said Sgt. Calder.

He suggests residents visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centres website,, where examples of different kinds of fraud and tips for recognizing and reporting it can be found.

Police are asking anyone with similar experiences to contact the DRPS at 1-888-579-1520.


bull; The person calling claims to be a government official, tax officer, banking official, lawyer or some other person in authority.

bull; Being pressured to make a large payment immediately.

bull; Not being allowed time to check out the caller by requesting written information, address, call back number.

bull; Being asked confidential personal information.

bull; Being asked for all your confidential banking or credit card information. Unless using that specific method of payment, honest businesses do not require these details.


Reporter Brad Andrews covers the Municipality of Clarington for Metroland Media Group’s Durham Region Division

Alert: EZCORP Confirms Fiscal 2014 Third Quarter Earnings Release and …

July 27, 2014

Personal Financial Services

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Alert: EZCORP Confirms Fiscal 2014 Third Quarter Earnings Release and Conference Call

July 24, 2014: 09:00 AM ET

AUSTIN, Texas, July 24, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — EZCORP confirmed today that it will release 2014 fiscal third quarter financial results on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 after the market closes.

In conjunction with the release, EZCORP has scheduled a conference call which will be broadcasted live over the internet that same day at 4:00 p.m. central time.

WHAT: EZCORP’s Q3 fiscal 2014 earnings conference call webcast

WHEN: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. CT


For those who cannot listen to the live call, an archive of the webcast will be available shortly after the call on the company’s website at

EZCORP, Inc. is a leader in delivering easy cash solutions to our customers across channels, products, services and markets. With approximately 7,500 team members and approximately 1,400 locations and branches, we give our customers multiple ways to access instant cash, including pawn loans and consumer loans in the United States, Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom. We offer these products through four primary channels: in-store, online, at the worksite and through our mobile platform. At our pawn and buy/sell stores and online, we also sell merchandise, primarily collateral forfeited from pawn lending operations and used merchandise purchased from customers.

EZCORP owns controlling interests in Prestaciones Finmart, S.A.P.I. de C.V., SOFOM, E.N.R. (doing business under the names “Crediamigo” and “Adex”), a leading provider of payroll deduction loans in Mexico; and in Renueva Commercial, S.A.P.I. de C.V., an operator of buy/sell stores in Mexico under the name “TUYO.” The company also has a significant investment in Cash Converters International Limited (CCV.ASX), which franchises and operates a worldwide network of over 700 stores that provide personal financial services and sell pre-owned merchandise.

CONTACT: Mark Trinske
EZCORP Investor Relations
(512) 314-2220


All families need to have the financial “talk”

July 27, 2014

Financial Topics

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It’s the conversation that many families put off. And then put off some more.

It’s the talk between elderly parents and their adult children about the parents’ finances. It’s a conversation that every family eventually must have — and it’s best to do it before a crisis hits.

“Money is a taboo subject for families, but we do find that silence can be costly,” said Lauren Brouhard, a senior vice president at Fidelity Investments.

The company recently released a study that found that when it comes to important but difficult conversations about finances, many families struggle with the timing.

The Intra-Family Generational Finance study showed that 64 percent of parents and their adult children differ as to when detailed conversations on key financial topics, including retirement preparedness, elder care and estate planning, should take place.

“While parents would prefer to wait until after retirement, their children want the conversations to take place well before their parents retire or experience health issues,” Brouhard said.

“The study found that the top reason cited by parents for not discussing their retirement plans or other matters with their adult children is that they don’t want them to count too much on their future inheritance.”

While I understand where parents are coming from, their reluctance is risky. Sooner or later, they will have to have that talk, and it most likely will occur during a crisis.

“It is a difference between destiny and certainty,” said Michael B. Cohen, an elder law attorney in Dallas. “A failure of the family to communicate will lead to mere destiny, whereas if there is a family discussion, then a plan can be discussed for certainty. If nothing else, there will be a better understanding of what is truly important to the parent and what risks they are willing to take, if any.”

So the best time to have that talk is now.

Adult children can broach the subject by using another person’s situation. Perhaps a friend recently had the discussion with his or her parents. You can use that as a bridge to ask your parents whether they have the proper estate planning and medical documents prepared, and whether they have spelled out their desires.

You need to know this so you can carry out their wishes.

On the flip side, parents can also initiate the talk. Knowing that they’ve communicated their wishes to their family can keep them from fretting.

“One of people’s big fears as they age is being a burden on others,” Brouhard said. “Taking the time to have more detailed conversations can really dramatically increase peace of mind and reduce anxiety for many families.”

“Short of having these discussions, there could be surprises about a parent’s wishes, what responsibilities a parent may be assuming a child may or may not be willing to take on — important matters that really impact everyone’s life in the family,” Brouhard said.

For example, the Fidelity study found a wide gap in expectations about who will care for a parent if they become ill. Of adult children surveyed, 43 percent expect they or a sibling will need to handle caregiving duties. Only 6 percent of parents expect this.

As an adult child, it’s important to remember that decisions about their finances are up to your parents, as long as they are capable.

“When it comes to finances, it’s not a democracy,” Brouhard said. “While different family members should have a role in the planning process, ultimately, it’s going to be up to the parents to make the important decisions that they have a right to make about their future, as well as how they disperse their assets and who’s in charge of what.”

Follow Pamela Yip on Twitter at @pamelayip.

AT A GLANCE: About the Survey

Fidelity’s Intra-Family Generational Finance survey was conducted online among US parents and their adult children March 3-April 9. The total sample recruited for the study included 1,058 parents and 159 adult children.

To qualify, parents had to be at least 55 years of age, have an adult child older than 30 and have investable assets of at least $100,000. Their children qualified if they were at least 30 years old and had money saved in an IRA, 401(k) or other investment account. In addition, they must have at least $10,000 saved.

The margin of error was plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

HOW TO Get financial help

Have a financial question? Email Your question will be sent to a member of the Financial Planning Association of Dallas-Fort Worth. Then watch for the answer at Your name will not be published, just your initials.